I need to add to my “colorful commentary” from earlier today on Facebook:
I will literally never relent to call you out when it comes to weak comments like “just sharing a thing I saw”, I didn’t mean anything, I totally love gay people” or “it’s just a joke”.
Your jokes are dangerous. Your jokes dehumanize people I love.
Your jokes are bullshit.
Your jokes are often not-so-veiled announcements of your own bias against people you don’t care to know or understand, or not-so-veiled hate towards people who don’t look like you.
Your jokes, believe it or not (and it takes giving a shit to believe) get people killed.
“I’m just sharing a passage from the bible, it’s not my place…”
You’re goddamn right it’s not your place. Ever. Especially when you glean what you feel backs up your nonchalant discarding of human beings, and ignore the parts that broadcast what a hypocritical shit you are. That’s not how this works. Your cherry-picking is embarrassing and transparent as fuck.
When I “come at you”, and believe me I will continue to do so, I’m standing up for my transgender friends and family who are simply trying to exist in their own skin. Trying to go to work and do their job. Trying to leave their job without being accosted in the fucking parking lot. Trying to go to the store. Trying to go to church. Trying to raise their children.
Trying to stay fucking alive.
Violence against transgender men and women – and big surprise, it’s mostly women – is on the rise. And I have no doubt that it’s just going to get worse under the current shit-show that we have running our country because entirely too may of you voted for someone who is gleefully rolling back protections for women, for transgender men and women, for our fucking planet and the people trying to stay alive on it. And along with that, we get a vice president who supports murdering them. You voted for that, too.
These trans men and women were killed in 2017:
- Mesha Caldwell, 41, a black transgender woman from Canton, Mississippi, was found shot to death the evening of January 4. The murder is still under investigation and no suspects have been arrested.
- Sean Hake, 23, a transgender man in Sharon, Pennsylvania, died after he was shot by police responding to a 911 call from his mother. A friend told WKBN that Sean “had a genuinely good heart and he had struggled with his problems.”
- Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, 28, an American Indian woman who identified as transgender and two-spirit, was found dead in her apartment in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A suspect, 25-year-old Joshua Rayvon LeClaire, has been arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter in connection with her death.
- JoJo Striker, 23, a transgender woman, was found killed in Toledo, Ohio, on February 8. Striker’s mother, Shanda Striker, described her as “funny and entertaining” and said her family loved her deeply.
- Tiara Richmond, also known as Keke Collier, 24, was fatally shot in Chicago on the morning of February 21. A transgender woman of color, she was found dead on the same street as two other transgender women that were killed in 2012.
- Chyna Gibson, 31, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in New Orleans on February 25. Chyna was a much-loved performer in the ballroom community who was visiting friends and family in New Orleans at the time of her death.
- Ciara McElveen, 26, a transgender woman of color, was stabbed to death in New Orleans on February 27. McElveen did outreach for the homeless community. As of February 28, 2017, HRC has tracked at least nine murders of transgender people in Louisiana since 2013.
- Jaquarrius Holland, 18, was shot to death in Monroe, Louisiana, on February 19. One friend, Chesna Littleberry, told Mic that Holland was “like a younger sister” and had helped her learn to accept herself.
- Alphonza Watson, 38, was shot and killed in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 22. Watson’s mother said her daughter was “the sunshine of our family,” a “caring, passionate” person who loved cooking and gardening.
- Chay Reed, 28, a transgender woman of color, was shot and killed on April 21 in Miami. Reed’s longtime friend told Mic about their longtime friendship — describing her as someone who was full of life and beloved by many.
- Kenneth Bostick, 59, was found with severe injuries on a Manhattan sidewalk, he later died of his injuries. Few details about Bostick’s life have been reported, he is believed to have been homeless at the time he was attacked.*
- Sherrell Faulkner, 46, a transgender woman of color died on May 16, of injuries sustained during an attack on November 30, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Police are treating the assault as a homicide. No arrests have been made at this point.
- Kenne McFadden, 27, was found in the San Antonio River on April 9. Police believe she was pushed into the river, which runs through downtown San Antonio. A high-school friend of McFadden described her to local media as assertive, charismatic and lovable. On January 25, 2018, a 19-year-old man was charged with her murder.
- Kendra Marie Adams, 28, was found in a building that was under construction and had burns on her body on June 13. Police have charged Michael Davis, 45, with Adams’ murder. Adams also went by Josie Berrios, the name used in initial media reports on her death.
- Ava Le’Ray Barrin, 17, was shot and killed in Athens, Georgia on June 25 during an altercation in an apartment parking lot. In an online obituary, friends remembered Barrin as a “social butterfly” and an “amazing girl” who “loved to make people laugh.”
- Ebony Morgan, 28, was shot multiple times in Lynchburg, Virginia, in the early morning of July 2. Morgan was transferred to a local hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. Authorities have named Kenneth Allen Kelly Jr. as a person of interest in the case.
- TeeTee Dangerfield, 32, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed on July 31 in Atlanta, Georgia. According to the Georgia Voice, Dangerfield “was found with multiple gunshot wounds outside of her vehicle at the South Hampton Estates apartment complex.”
- Jaylow McGlory, 29, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Alexandria, Louisiana on August 4. According to media reports, a 20-year-old man was later charged with her murder.
- Gwynevere River Song, 26, was shot and killed in Waxahachie, Texas, on August 12. According to their Facebook profile, they identified as “femandrogyne” and a member of the bisexual community.
- Kiwi Herring, 30, was killed during an altercation with police on August 22 during an altercation with her neighbor. Relatives told Huffpost the neighbor was transphobic and that excessive force by police led to her death.
- Kashmire Nazier Redd, 28, was fatally stabbed by his partner on September 5. A friend wrote on Facebook “[Kashmire] loved hard and just wanted to be loved and [accepted].”
- Derricka Banner, 26, was found shot to death in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 12. Friends describe Banner as a “playful spirit” and “go-getter” who enjoyed life.
- Scout Schultz, 21, was shot and killed by Georgia Tech campus police on September 16. The GT Progressive Student Alliance, a progressive student advocacy group on campus, called Schultz an “incredible, inspirational member of our community and a constant fighter for human rights.”
- Ally Steinfeld, 17, was stabbed to death in Missouri in early September. On April 3, 2018, the Texas County prosecutor charged Andrew Vrba, 18, with first-degree murder. Two other women, Briana Calderas, 24, and Isis Schauer, 18, were also charged with Steinfeld’s murder. Steinfeld’s family said Ally “sometimes” identified as female on social media.
- Stephanie Montez, 47, was brutally murdered near Robstown, Texas. Montez’s longtime friend, Brittany Ramirez, described her as “one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet.”
- Candace Towns, 30, a transgender woman who was found shot to death in Georgia. Town’s friend, Malaysa Monroe, remembers Towns’ generosity. “If I needed anything she would give it to me. She would give me the clothes off her back,” Monroe said.
- Brooklyn BreYanna Stevenson, 31, a Black transgender woman who was found murdered in a motel room in Oklahoma City on November 27. Family describe Stevenson as “an amazing daughter, sister and friend with a giving and loving heart.”
- Brandi Seals, 26, a Black transgender woman who was found shot to death in a Houston neighborhood on December 13. Her family described her as a “loving person” and a “beautiful person.”
And let’s take a look at 2018. Oh, and please fucking realize that it’s only MAY. Hey, guys, we’re not even a full five months in yet, but look at who we’ve allowed people to kill with over 7 months left in the year:
- Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42, was found dead in her home on January 5 in North Adams, Massachusetts. Steele-Knudslien organized and produced the Miss Trans New England and other pageants, and was loved and known by many in both the local and national trans community.
- Viccky Gutierrez, 33, a transgender woman from Honduras was stabbed and had her body set ablaze inside her Los Angeles home on January 10. Friends described her as “a young trans Latina immigrant woman whose warm smile would give anyone comfort.”
- Tonya Harvey, 35, was fatally shot on February 6 in Buffalo, New York. A friend of Harvey’s expressed her condolences on Facebook, writing: “I knew her since I started transitioning, she was so sweet and loving.” Police have confirmed they are looking into the incident as a possible hate crime.
- Celine Walker, 36, was fatally shot in a hotel room on on February 4 in Jacksonville, Florida. It was not known for several days that Walker was trans because local police claimed to not refer to victims as transgender. Investigators are still looking for a suspect in her death.
- Phylicia Mitchell, 45, was shot and killed outside her home on February 23 in Cleveland, Ohio. On April 10, Cleveland.com reported that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Gary Sanders. Sanders was charged with aggravated murder in Mitchell’s death. Her longtime partner, Shane Mitchell, described her as “funny and kind” and that “everyone loved her.”
- Zakaria Fry, 28, went missing in New Mexico in mid-January. Her body was later found 40 miles outside of Albuquerque on February 19. Albuquerque Police arrested and charged Charles Spiess with two open counts of murder. Fry’s loved ones shared comondolences on Facebook with one friend saying: “You were my older sister. You took care of me and loved me like family. I’ll forever love you. I’m sorry.”
- Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28, was fatally shot at a local motel on March 26 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Few details are known about the crime, and police report they have no suspects or persons of interest at this time.
- Sasha Wall, 29, a transgender woman of color, was fatally shot on April 1 in Chesterfield County, South Carolina. The FBI is assisting with local investigators, and are analyzing phone records and collecting DNA evidence. Donovan Dunlap, a friend of Wall’s, expressed condolences on Facebook, writing, “I will miss you my beautiful sister. I cannot sleep, I hope they find who did this.”
- Karla Patricia Flores-Pavón, 26, was found choked to death in her apartment in Dallas, Texas, on May 9. Dallas Police arrested 24-year-old Jimmy Eugene Johnson III on May 17, charging him with Flores-Pavón’s murder. “It hurts a lot, you were a good-hearted person. Sister, fly high. We will remember you with love. Your beautiful smile will stay with us,” a friend posted on her Facebook page.
- Nino Fortson, 36, was fatally shot in Atlanta on May 13. City police were nearby executing a traffic stop and rushed to the scene, but Forston later died at the hospital, said transgender advocate Monica Roberts.
Oh, and 23 killed in 2016.
And 21 killed in 2015. And these are just the people we know about.
I could keep going back through the states for each year, but all I’m going to find is hatred and some folks’ justification because WELL THE BIBLE SAID AND GOD KNOWS I FOLLOW THAT BIBLE.
There have been so many beautiful strides for the transgender community in the workplace, in politics, in just plain being seen.
And at the same time, as I am paraphrasing from an article I was just reading and trying to to cry while doing so, the increased violence is inseparable from the social climate: that anti-transgender violence and anti-transgender laws, like so-called bathroom bills, which aim to police who may use gender-specific public facilities, are constantly being put forth because of people who push back against transgender people even EXISTING around them.
The current shrieking pushback against transgender men and women is the bigot’s deathknell, but they’re going to try to kill a few more trans men and women before they expire.
And it’s worth mentioning that almost all the murder victims in the past several years have been nonwhite women. The annual murder rate for Americans ages 15 to 34 is about one in 12,000. But for black transgender women in the same age group, the rate was one in 2,600.
Where you find transphobia, you are almost definitely going to find misogyny and racism. Bigotry is usually pretty goddamn multifaceted. Hatred knows no bounds.
And yes, I am pissed. I’m shaking, I’m mad as hell and I’m scared and I’m literally never going to shut up about this.
So if you think, on this subject and any other subject where I’m, in real-time, watching my friends be killed, that I’m eventually going to just “let people have their opinions” and “have a sense of humor” about, you can hold your breath and die mad about it.